My Baby, My Love by Dani Sinclair released on Dec 24, 1999 is available now for purchase.
About the Author
The Easter Bunny is supposed to bring candy. One year he brought a bouncing baby to Dani's parents instead. She'll let you make your own association here.
Dani's parents claim they were elated, but she thinks it just took time for the shock to wear off. As the oldest of what turned out to be six brothers and one sister, Dani grew up amid noise and chaos. Mom thrived on it, Dad thought about immigrating to Australia.
She would like to say she takes after her dad, preferring order and quiet in her life, but since she seems to find herself constantly surrounded by chaos that she's either created or somehow become embroiled in, she figures you could say she got the best of both of them.
In high school, Dani met a man at the drugstore where she was working the soda fountain. Yes, they really did exist outside old movies. Dani went home and told her sister she'd met the man she was going to marry.
Almost two years later, she did. Two sons came along eventually, and thirty-some years later she's kept her promise. She told her husband their lives would never be dull. There are times she's sure he'd like to consider immigrating to Australia as well.
Reading and writing have always been part of her life. As a child she wrote plays and talked neighborhood children into performing for parents and anyone else she could coerce into sitting through them. The rest of the time she spent reading — walking every Saturday to the library to replenish her stack of fiction.
In high school Dani finally began writing her own novel. The murder mystery featured a private investigator and a mysterious, beautiful woman. (Her first romance though she didn't know it back then.) Written in pen and pencil — no crayon she's happy to report — on all sorts of notebook paper — her study hall teachers thought her very studious — she finished the story after months of labor. Proudly, she gave it to her sister and best friend to read.
Her sister was furious that Dani had killed off the female lead at the end. Her best friend pointed out the entire story took place in an impossible 24-hour period. Other than that, they both swore they liked it.
Over the years, Dani continued to dabble in writing, particularly after she discovered science fiction. Unfortunately, good science fiction requires a solid scientific background. Not her strong suit.
But the most inhibiting factor was that in the old days writing involved typewriters and carbon paper. For those of you too young to remember, typewriters didn't all plug into the wall, and none had anything resembling a "memory." They had messy ribbons and sticking keys and bells that went ding when you came to the end of the line. That's literal, not figurative.
Carbon paper is a vile substance that requires patience, discipline, and strong spelling and accurate typing skills. Dani guarantees you, if man had not invented home computers, she'd still be living the stories in her head. Block and move, and spell check, now done with the click of a mouse button, was an incredible boon to writers the world over, she declares. So when her sister asked her to write her a romance novel while Dani was between jobs, it sounded like a snap.
Ignorance is bliss. Dani says she wrote her first romance novel in something like one week. She was so pleased by the results, she followed it up with two more. Then she discovered a group of writers who met once a week to critique and offer support to one another. Shortly thereafter she discovered a local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Of the five writers who formed the initial critique group, the three who were able to persevere are now all published authors. Moreover, Dani is proud to add that all three have been nominated for RITA Awards.
Dani concludes with: "Thanks to the loving support of my very own hero and the two sons we raised, I sold 13 books in five years. I'm proud to call myself a writer. And hopefully, I've given to others some of the pleasure I've derived from a lifetime of reading."
Read an Excerpt
Sydney woke to the scent of something elusive, something intriguing, something that wafted past the smell of flowers and antiseptic. In an effort to find the source, she forced open her eyes and tried to focus on the face that hovered above her.
"Sydney? That's it, open your eyes. Can you hear me?"
The rumbly voice was comforting. She'd heard that voice in her dreams. A voice that promised safety and security from the nightmares.
Memory flooded her with violent images.
Sydney opened her mouth, a scream building from her soul. The man shook his head. His fingers pressed gently against her raw, chapped lips.
"Don't," he ordered. "You're safe now. You don't have to scream anymore."
The tone, rather than the words, released the scream as a long shuddering sigh. Sydney trembled. Pain raced up her arm. Other pain quickly followed. She tried to lift her hand. It wouldn't move. Something white covered it completely. Sydney fought against the incipient panic rising in her chest.
She couldn't move!
Large hands rested against her shoulders, gently but effectively holding her in place.
"Look at me, Sydney."
She had no choice but to do as he commanded. Still, she couldn't stop the quaking that gripped her body.
He nodded. "That's better. If you scream, the cop outside your door will throw me out of here."
What was he talking about? The hands moved away from her shoulders. Ironically, she wanted that reassuring contact back.
"Don't fade out on me, Sydney. Take a couple of deep breaths."
She licked at her chapped lips as she stared into his ruggedly handsome face. He wore a military dress uniform, she realized. Puzzling out why this should be significant was too hard for her muzzy brain to contemplate. It was enough that he was here. She relaxed, staring up at him, drawn to him in some indefinable way.
"Are you thirsty?" he asked.
Sydney nodded, bewildered, and suddenly, terribly tired. The last thing she remembered—
"No! Don't try to remember. Look at me, okay?"
Looking at him was the easiest thing she'd ever been asked to do. Just his presence made her feel safe and protected. He lifted a cup with a straw poking from the top. Carefully, he brought it to her lips in silent offering.
"Just a small sip," he cautioned.
The ice water slid down her grateful throat, soothing the strained, parched dryness. Her whole body felt strained. She hurt. Everywhere.
"Listen to me."
Dark somber eyes bored into her.
"Visiting hours don't start for some time yet, so I don't know how long I'll have in here before one of the nurses comes to check on you."
She blinked, trying to focus on those chiseled features. While he was somehow achingly familiar, she knew she'd never seen him before. How sad to have wasted all this time.
"You were shot during a bank robbery."
The muzzle of the gun. Deafening noise. Blood. So much blood.
"Easy. You're safe now," his voice continued.
Blood had pumped from Mrs. Argossy's fallen form to mingle with the spilled soda on the white tile floor.
"Listen to me, Sydney. You're safe."
His words banished the horrible images. His hand absently stroked her shoulder, calming the tremors that threatened to shake her apart.
"You're in the hospital. You've been here three days. Do you understand?"
She focused on his face, trying to still the living nightmare. His somber expression helped hold the horror at bay. Since it seemed important to him that she agree, she nodded.
"Who are you?" Her voice croaked, sounding as rusty and sore as it felt.
His lips thinned. "Noah."
The name took processing. "Jerome's brother?"
No. Anyone but Jerome's brother. Fate couldn't be so unkind. But that would explain the military uniform. Jerome had often talked about his brother, the major.
"Yes. I'm Jerome's brother."
Deep sadness filled his brooding expression. She wanted to reach out to him, to ease that sorrow. This was Jerome's brother!
She shut her eyes against the pain. In her head, the gunshots echoed, blending with the screams she'd locked inside. She smelled the sharp tang that had hung in the wisps of smoke. She felt Jerome's full weight crashing down on her as he stumbled forward and collapsed, his body jerking repeatedly, pinning her to the floor.
She didn't need the words, but her lips formed them anyhow. She opened her eyes. "He's dead," she stated. She knew it to be true.
Noah responded so softly she almost didn't hear him as the first salty tear trickled down her cheek.
"Don't," he said sharply. "Please. We need to talk before they toss me out of here."
She stared at him, frustrated by her inability to wipe the wetness from her cheek. "I wasn't planning to give in to hysterics."
His expression softened. "Good. That would send me screaming. Do you remember everything that happened?"
If only she could forget.
She tried to sit up and found she still couldn't move her hands. For the first time, she noticed the IV bottle on the other side of the bed. She blinked rapidly in frustration and Noah withdrew a crisp white handkerchief. He blotted her cheeks and eyes.
The elusive scent she'd noticed on awakening came from him, she realized. Probably a cologne, though it was so faint she couldn't be certain. The distracting smell helped to calm her, for some reason.
"Dead," he answered quietly.
"Take deep breaths," Noah encouraged.
A long shudder passed through her. Once again she tried to move. "My hands—"
"They tied you down so you wouldn't thrash around anymore. You pulled the IV out twice. They were afraid you'd injure yourself."
"What are you talking about?"
"You slammed your head against something when you fell, Sydney. You suffered a concussion. When you finally started to come to, you began to thrash around so violently that they had to sedate you."
"I don't remember." Yet she could almost remember horrible screams that felt lodged deep inside her. She stared up at him, focusing on his face in a bid for control.
"My head hurts."
He nodded. "That's to be expected."
" I wasn't expecting it." He smiled and she relaxed. "Jerome didn't know you were coming, did he?"
Pain flashed in his dark eyes. "No. I was due for some leave next week, but I hadn't planned to come here."
Sydney didn't know what to say. She knew the brothers weren't close. And knowing her husband as well as she did now, she suspected more than age and distance had separated the men.
"Sydney, I know the timing is off, but we need to talk."
"I'm sorry, Noah. I'm afraid I'm muzzy. What—"
"So, you're awake at last! You aren't supposed to be in here at this hour, Mr. Inglewood. Official visiting hours don't start until ten."
The anemic-looking nurse bustled inside. She frowned at Noah, and came forward so she could stand officiously over the bed. "How are you feeling?"
Sydney didn't know how to answer the question. Mostly, she felt confused. Her gaze sought Noah. She sensed him willing her to remain in control and she swallowed hard.
"I'd like to move my hands," she managed.
"I'll check with the doctor. Do you know who you are?"
"Of course I know who I am."
The nurse waited.
"Sydney Edwards." She saw Noah's frown. "Inglewood," she added.
"Do you know where you are?"
"Do you know why?"
Her irritation mounted along with her headache. Sydney glared at the nurse. "I was shot. Now, I'd like to speak to the doctor, please."
"He'll be by to see you shortly." The nurse planted a thermometer in her mouth.
Sydney thrust the offending object aside with her tongue. "Now!"
"Mrs. Inglewood, you really mustn't get excited."
Sydney stopped listening. "Will you get him for me?" she asked Noah, avoiding the thermometer.
He nodded. "I'll be back."
Sydney waited, but he didn't return. And by afternoon, she knew everything.
"I'm afraid we won't be able to determine if you'll regain the full use of all the fingers until after the swelling goes down," the self-important surgeon told her. "The nerve and muscle damage was extensive."
Staring at her completely bandaged right hand, Sydney was barely able to control the fearful anxiety the doctor's words created. Her career as a jeweler might be over. With only one usable hand, could she do the intricate work required? Her heart pounded. Her throat went dry.
Then he dropped his bombshell.
"Fortunately, the baby is fine. Your concussion had us worried at first, naturally, but it appears there's no permanent damage done there either. You may experience some headaches and a little dizziness from the concussion…."
He might as well have spoken in Chinese.
"I'm pregnant?" Sydney could only stare at the man. Jerome's friend, the fertility doctor, had told them the procedure hadn't worked! "Are you certain?"
Thrown off stride by the interruption, the doctor rubbed the pen tip against the side of his face as if bewildered. "Quite certain, Mrs. Inglewood. You appear to be about three months pregnant. When was…?"
That incompetent twit! Hadn't she guessed she couldn't trust Jerome's friend? His entire clinic had done little to inspire confidence. She should have known he'd get the test results wrong.
"I got pregnant three months and nine days ago," she told the surgeon. That date was engraved on her mind for all time.
Like a delayed electric charge, the impact of his revelation suddenly slammed home. She was going to have a baby! Jerome's baby.
But Jerome was dead!
She'd been in the process of filing for a divorce.
She could not be pregnant! Not now! Not when this officious surgeon was implying that her hand might never function properly again and her whole career could be in jeopardy.
Panic clogged her throat while the surgeon stood beside her, calmly, arrogantly sure of himself as he continued to list her health concerns. The soft-spoken man hadn't a clue that his words were doing more to shock her than the bullet had done.
Sydney glanced at her stomach and shook her head in denial. She didn't look pregnant. She didn't feel pregnant. She did not want to be pregnant. Not now. She wanted this doctor to be wrong.
A vision of a tall man in a military uniform made her close her eyes in despair. Noah. She was pregnant with his brother's baby.
A shiver racked her entire body. This wasn't happening. She wanted to grab her pounding head and close her eyes until the nightmare ended.
"Mrs. Inglewood, I assure you," the surgeon continued, "the baby is fine. There's no cause for alarm."
Wanting to laugh, she also wanted to cry. No wonder she'dbeen thrashing around when she'd started to wake up. She wanted to thrash around again right now. Her entire world had just shifted one hundred eighty degrees.
She was relieved when the doctor finally left. Staring out the window, she tried to calm the insidious threat of panic welling in her chest. Pregnant! What was she going to do?
She hadn't liked the small fertility clinic or the hyper doctor who ran it, but Jerome had insisted on using both. The man was a former schoolmate. A friend. And his brand-new clinic needed patients. Small wonder. The creep also needed to go back to medical school.
Despite his assurance that the procedure hadn't worked, she was pregnant. She clutched the sheet covering her, wadding the material into a destructive ball. Whether the timing suited her or not, Sydney was going to have the child she'd always wanted.
The police and FBI arrived before she had time to think past the shock. Despite their effusive apologies for disturbing her, Sydney spent the bulk of the afternoon answering questions until her voice was hoarse and her head felt as if it were going to come apart in her hands.
The thieves had made off with more than three quarters of a million dollars. They hadn't left a trace of evidence behind. They'd even been smart enough to locate and take the bank's surveillance tapes. All the authorities had was Sydney, the only eyewitness to what had happened. Not that she was much help. Despite her best efforts, Sydney couldn't give them anything to work with. Exhausted, she fell asleep as soon as they left.
Dreams fragmented her sleep. Real events blended with menacing nightmares that brought her to the edge of waking. She knew she was dreaming, but she couldn't seem to force her heavy eyes open.
Fear became a writhing force in her chest as she faced the gunman all over again. In her dream, someone hovered just out of sight. The danger felt all too real. If only she could open her eyes to look.
Sydney struggled to release herself from the nightmare's hold. Her senses screamed at her to open her eyes. A crash pierced the nightmare, jarring her free. She opened her eyes and gasped for air. A bearded man with long hair stood beside her bed.
Piercing dark eyes glared down at her, plunging icy fear straight through her veins. He withdrew his hand from inside the nightstand drawer. Fingers flexed. A subtle threat. But there was no subtlety in the stare that drilled into her. The menace was real. She drew in a ragged breath of air to scream when a voice in the hall called out sharply.
"Hey, orderly! They need your help in 413! Someone fell!"
Without a word, the man turned and strode away.
Badly shaken, Sydney struggled to sit up. Pain clawed her head with needlelike talons. Dropping her chin to her chest, she pressed her palm against her throbbing temple, so dizzy she was nearly sick. The wave of vertigo passed, leaving her weak and spent in reaction. Only when she could finally open her eyes again and everything remained still did she notice the dinner tray sitting on the tray table beside her.
The drawer of her nightstand was partially open. A vase of flowers had fallen to the floor. It must have been the crash that had penetrated her nightmare.
Hand on the call button, she hesitated. Had the threat been real, or imagined? Had the orderly merely looked angry because he'd knocked over the vase and was afraid he'd be in trouble? Or was there another, more sinister reason?
Surely the police officer who'd summoned the man wouldn't have let anyone in her room without credentials.
But years of television cop shows said anyone could get a set of credentials. And she hadn't noticed any around his neck. Maybe he'd brought in her dinner tray and maybe he hadn't. For certain he'd knocked over the flowers. And his hands had been inside the drawer of her nightstand. He couldhave been searching for something to wipe up the mess, but the memory of his cold dark eyes sent her hand to the call light.
Minutes passed. No one came. Why wasn't anyone responding?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A really good suspenseful romance! Must buy